Gold Medalists with a Conscience | The Plan
  1. Home
  2. Magazine 2022
  3. The Plan 140
  4. Gold Medalists with a Conscience

Gold Medalists with a Conscience

Brooks+Scarpa

Gold Medalists with a Conscience
By Michael Webb -

The American Institute of Architects used to award its gold medal to celebrated practitioners with global practices, but – like the Pritzker Prize Jury – they have recently widened their focus to include less familiar names. This year’s winner is the partnership of Angela Brooks and Lawrence Scarpa, a 22-person Los Angeles practice that has had an outsized influence on their profession and the craft of building. As a letter nominating them for the award explained, “They are motivated by a social responsibility and environmental stewardship that seeks ways to improve the livability of cities and ennoble the daily lives of their citizens”.

Brooks and Scarpa grew up in Florida, met and married at university there, moved to southern California and established their L.A. practice in 1991. Gwynne Pugh was a third founding partner but left to open his own office in 2010. From the start, the practice was committed to innovation. Each project – in housing, commerce, education and culture – is freshly thought out. Well before sustainability became a mandate for the profession, these architects were aiming for, and sometimes achieving, net zero.
A high proportion of the firm’s buildings are rated LEED Platinum. The house that Larry Scarpa remodeled for his family in the Venice district of L.A. is called Solar Umbrella, an apt name for a model of active and passive environmental strategies. Colorado Court, an affordable housing project in Santa Monica completed in 2002, is clad in translucent blue-toned solar panels. Scarpa had to fight bureaucratic constraints and the hostility of utilities to create this self-sufficient building.

“At the start of my practice I would look at affordable housing and think: it is so bad that there is a wonderful opportunity for an architect; anything I did would look better”, says Scarpa.
“So I pursued that course, but it was not easy”....

Proceed with your preferred purchase option to continue reading
Digital

Digital

4.49 €
Print

Print

15.00 €
Subscription

Subscription

From 35.00 €
Keep up with the latest trends in the architecture and design world

© Maggioli SpA • THE PLAN • Via del Pratello 8 • 40122 Bologna, Italy • T +39 051 227634 • P. IVA 02066400405 • ISSN 2499-6602 • E-ISSN 2385-2054